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Macular Dystrophy

Image of an elderly man's face.

You may have heard of macular degeneration, an age-related condition in which people suffer permanent vision loss due to damage in a part of the retina called macula. But you may not be so familiar with a similar macular condition that also causes vision loss -- even in young people. This condition, known as macular dystrophy, takes its cue from the sufferer's genetic makeup and produces varying degrees of vision loss. If you have macular dystrophy, understanding the precise nature of your condition can help you make smart decisions for coping with it.

Understanding Macular Dystrophy

The macula is a collection of cells in the center of the retina, the spot at the back of the eyeball that relays images to the optic nerve. In turn, the optic nerve sends images to the brain's visual center for interpretation. Photoreceptors in the macula are responsible for sending information regarding the central field of vision and the perception of colors. Macula dystrophy occurs when a buildup of pigment in the macula causes the cells to lose their ability to function. This damage may cause you to lose some or all of your central field of vision, leaving your peripheral vision intact, or it may render you color blind.

Unlike macular degeneration, which also causes a loss of central vision but generally appears late in life, macular dystrophy is a genetic mutation that can express itself in young adulthood or even childhood. (The childhood variety is known as Best disease, named after the BEST1 gene that seems to cause it.)

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suffer from early signs of central vision loss or difficulty registering colors, you may have macular degeneration or cataracts. If you test negative for those conditions, however, you may want to get checked for macular dystrophy. Your eye care professional may inject yellow-green dye into the veins of the eye to look for signs of the condition, or check for remnants of cells sloughed away by retinal disease. Electrodes can measure your eye's ability to react to light as well. These tests, along with genetic testing, can help you discover what type of macular dystrophy you may have, if any.

While no treatment currently exists for macular dystrophy, the fact that it tends to progress slowly puts time on your side. Some cases even stop progressing on their own.

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Pope Eye Care of Camden

Monday:

8:30 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:30 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:30 pm

Wednesday:

8:30 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:30 pm

Thursday:

8:30 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:30 pm

Friday:

8:30 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:30 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Pope Eye Care of Malvern

Monday:

8:30 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:30 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:30 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Friday:

8:30 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

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Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Dr. Pope and his staff are very professional. They made me feel like I was long time patient of theirs on my first visit."
    Craig L.
  • "Dr Charles put me in contacts in 1982. I haven't been to anyone else in 35 years� Thanks Dr Charles and Dr Chuck for keeping me seeing good all these years."
    Ricky A.
  • "Other than the military, i have seen 3 eye doctors in sixteen years. 2 of them i saw once each. The other 14 years i have trusted and put my vision needs in the hands of Pope Eye Care. They care, they're thorough, and most importantly they are family oriented. If you want the best this should be your first option. Thanks to you and your staff!"
    Ty L.
  • "Very nice staff. And doctor. I can't wait to get my beautiful glasses next week."
    Virginia T.